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Dublin Bay Incinerator: The Pyramid of Poolbeg or Ziggurat Of Zandymount? You Tell Us...

19th January 2017
In the eerie silver stillness of this freak January weather, the new Pyramid of Poolbeg already looks at home. In the eerie silver stillness of this freak January weather, the new Pyramid of Poolbeg already looks at home. Credit: W M Nixon

Those of us who only occasionally head down the Sandymount seafront along the inner reaches of Dublin Bay will be driving carelessly if we give the attention it deserves to the impressive new structure which is taking shape on the Poolbeg Peninsula writes W M Nixon.

You’ve got to stop and get out and give it a proper look from as many angles as possible, for whatever it is, it’s quite something. And it doesn’t seem hostile. Yet so impressive is it that you could be forgiven for thinking that all the talk about building a giant film studio in the area has been simply a blind – the reality is that Hollywood-On-The-Bay is already nearing completion, and the first production will be Brexit – The Movie, starring Donald Trump’s friend Meryl Streep as Theresa May.

Not a bit of it, alas. We’ve been well aware from the other side of the river while sailing at Clontarf that the new Covanta Incinerator has been rapidly under construction. But it’s only when you see it from the south in recent days, in this extraordinary calm still silver grey light that denies we’re in the dark depths of January, that you realise it really is something quite remarkable.

Dublin Bay incinerator 2The new IDRA 14 Wicked Sadie racing at the class’s 70th Anniversary regatta at Clontarf last September. Construction of the incinerator (beyond) was already under way, but its full impact is lessened when seen from the north. Photo: W M Nixon

Whatever your views about an incinerator on the waterfront of a city (and don’t forget that the very beau ideal of a city, Copenhagen no less, has its own incinerator, and is none the worse for it) the reality is that this is an awesome structure in its own right, and I cheerfully admit to liking the look of it very much indeed.

It’s all of a piece. It makes some of the other industrial structures about it look very scruffy. And we’ll certainly have to get the old ESB twin smokestacks re-painted pronto. As for the Dubs, they’re going to have a fine old time giving it a nickname, if they haven’t done so already.

The Ziggurat of Sandymount (we’ll have to change it to Zandymount), or the Pyramid of Poolbeg spring readily to mind. Maybe the Apex of Ash might be a contender too. Whatever it gets called, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s here to stay.

Then after we’ve all been blown away in the inevitable nuclear holocaust which the present re-ordering of the world makes very likely, can’t you just imagine the archaeologists of 5,000 years hence earnestly analyzing it and proving beyond all doubt that it was a sacred temple for the worship of money, with its main corridor exactly in alignment with the point on the horizon beyond which the sun rises on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Midwinter’s Day?

incinerator dublin bay3The new Zandymount Ziggurat makes the other industrial structures in its neighbourhood look a bit scruffy. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Dublin Bay

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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